The Platform Jump
This exercise is simple, and will allow you to test your own abilities before making any large advances, which will be the key to your own safety. For this exercise, you will need some type of platform that is completely stable and will not tip, such as a platform at your local gym, a park bench, a rock ledge, or some other platform that you can find in your local area. Stand with your feet about four inches from the ledge or platform that you will be working with, with your feet slightly apart. Squat down to prepare for your jump, making sure that you maintain good back posture, and do not begin slouching. Note, if you do begin slouching during these exercises, you will be building the wrong muscles, putting emphasis on muscles that you need to support your body, rather than jump. From here, spring up off of your feet, and land gently on the platform or ledge you have in front of you. Repeat this 10 to 15 times, rest for 30 seconds, then complete three more sets of this movement.
This exercise allows your joints to become used to pressure being forced on them quickly. Using a box or platform that is about 20% higher than your normal vertical jump, stand on top of the platform with your knees bent. From this position, simply jump off the platform, landing on the balls of your feet and allow your legs to absorb the impact. Doing this a few times between sets is great, but can become dangerous if it is done too frequently, as your joints need time to build up to withstand pressure.
Normal squats do not use any weight, but in order to be able to exert more power through your legs to increase your jump height, it is important that you do begin using weight. This is much easier if you have someone to spot you, or if you have some type of weight set that allows you to complete squats with the weights provided. Do keep in mind that when completing your squats, it is incredibly important that your knees do not pass your toes, that your back remains straight, and that the weight is held by your thighs and calves, as well as your core. These are all of the necessary parts that you will be building up in order to increase your vertical jump. If you perform squats incorrectly, they will not help you in any way, and may actually end up hurting you in the long run by damaging your muscles and joints.
There are many more exercises out there that involve the use of plyometrics to increase your core and leg strength, so don’t be afraid to look for other ideas to increase the strength of your legs. Use your own mind as well to think of ways that you could increase your leg strength, even if the ways you come up with are as simply as taking the stairs every day instead of the elevator. Every little bit counts when you’re increasing your vertical jump!